25th November 2021
Message of thanks as Covid-19 infection rate in Rowley falls following warning
People in Sandwell’s Rowley ward have been praised for their efforts in helping to reduce Covid-19 infection rates in the area.
The significant fall in infection rates follows a warning being issued, which was shared widely by people on social media and well-publicised by the local media.
Public health chiefs have thanked both the public and local media for their help over the past week.
In the week ending 14 November, Rowley ward had the highest Covid-19 infection rate in Sandwell at 519 per 100,000 people (63 cases). Just one week later the infection rate had fallen to less than half of that level.
In Rowley there has also been a higher incidence of the AY.4.2 variant, compared to other Sandwell areas. This sub-variant is closely related to the Delta variant, which has been dominant in the UK for a while. AY.4.2 is currently rising across the country.
Tividale ward, where a warning was also shared, has also seen a significant fall in cases over the same period.
Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell’s director of public health, said: “We would like to thank members of the public and the local media for sharing our warning last week – and to everyone who has taken extra care to prevent the further spread of infection.
“We were concerned by the surge in the rate in Rowley ward in particular, and this significant fall in infection rates is very welcome.
“Nowhere else in Sandwell saw such a dramatic fall in infections over this period. Overall, we have seen a rise in Sandwell, on average in line with the rest of the country, and our rates remain among the lowest in the region.
“We remain vigilant as surges in infection can happen at any time, especially in the light of the AY.4.2 variant and it’s greater ability to spread quickly. We all need to keep up our guard as we go into winter. AY.4.2 is thought to be more transmissible but there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness and the vaccine is very effective against it.”
Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, cabinet member for adults, social care and health, added: “We urge anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated yet to get their jabs as soon as they can and please, if you’re eligible for a booster vaccine, get that as well.
“It’s absolutely crucial that if we have Covid-19 symptoms we stay home and get tested. Ignoring this advice can cost lives.”
Sandwell residents are urged to stay safe and prevent the spread of the virus to help protect themselves and others:
People who had their second dose six months ago or more can walk in at a number of vaccination sites across the area, including Tipton Sports Academy. Booster appointments can also be booked online via the National Booking System – search ‘NHS Covid booster’ – or by calling 119.
Those eligible for boosters include those aged 40 and over, people living and working in care homes for the elderly, and frontline health and social care workers.
Anyone aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk from Covid-19 will also be eligible.
You can find a full list of vaccination sites in Sandwell on the Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group website – www.blackcountryandwestbirmccg.nhs.uk – and at www.healthysandwell.co.uk/clinics